In case you hadn’t heard, the Ford Fiesta has been best-seller in the UK for a number of years. Here’s what other European Union countries are buying

The top ten best-selling cars in the UK are easy to spot; on every street there’s at least one Fiesta, Corsa, Focus or Golf.

What is the best-selling car in other countries, though? Find out below which cars the rest of Europe loves as much as the UK loves the Ford Fiesta, measured by market analysts JATO Dynamics:

Austria: Volkswagen Golf

With no mainstream car manufacturers, Austria’s top-seller can’t be from a domestic manufacturer. 12,684 buyers flocked to the Volkswagen Golf in 2016, trouncing the next-best-seller, the Skoda Octavia, at 8693.

Belgium: Volkswagen Golf

The same can be said for Belgium, but clearly being wedged between France and Germany has its effects: the Volkswagen Golf is the most popular car, followed by the Renault Clio. 14,519 and 11,600 found owners respectively.

Croatia: Nissan Qashqai

Compared to most other European markets, Croatia’s car market is tiny, and its best-seller, the Nissan Qashqai, sold 687 units in 2016, followed by 535 Toyota Yarises.

Czech Republic: Skoda Octavia

No two guesses which carmaker rules supreme here - the Skoda Octavia sold 28,406 units and the second-best-seller was the Fabia, which sold 21,769, in fact, half of the country’s top ten best-sellers are Skodas. The first non-Skoda amongst the best-sellers is the Hyundai i30 – fifth place, with 7900 units.

Denmark: Peugeot 208

Peugeot’s only top spot in Europe is in Denmark, where 9381 208s found homes, while the next best-seller was the Volkswagen Up, of which 7361 were sold.

Estonia: Skoda Octavia

Estonia has a proclivity for larger cars, it would seem, as the Skoda Octavia took pole position having sold 1139 cars, while 838 units put the Toyota Avensis in second place.

Finland: Skoda Octavia

Skoda claims another victory in Finland with the Octavia – 5530 were sold there in 2016. Second place was taken by the Nissan Qashqai, although nearly 1000 less – 4663 – were sold across the year.

France: Renault Clio

Little surprise here; France’s top car is the Renault Clio, and a whopping 112,118 took it right to the top. The Peugeot 208 took second place, with 97,817 units being sold. Only one car, the Dacia Sandero, in France’s top ten isn’t from France, but even then, Dacia is Renault-owned.

Germany: Volkswagen Golf

The Volkswagen Golf and Passat took a 1-2 on home turf, with the Golf having sold 185,654 cars in the county – the best-selling car in any single market. It sells so well that the second-place Passat sold less than half this number; 79,216. GM-owned Opel Astra and Corsa – fifth and tenth with 65,197 and 55196 sales – are the only non-German-owned cars in the top ten.

Greece: Toyota Yaris

The Toyota Yaris takes the top spot in Greece, with 5307 cars sold, compared to the second-place Opel Corsa’s 3845 units sold.

Hungary: Suzuki Vitara

Hungarian buyers are hungry (sorry) for the Suzuki Vitara, quite probably because it's made there -  the model sold 6538 units there in 2016. Meanwhile, the Skoda Octavia sold 5283 down in second place.

Ireland: Hyundai Tucson

Hyundai has well and truly taken hold in Ireland; the Tucson was the best-selling car across the Irish sea in 2016, and grew by a staggering 11,323% over 2015, to 7425 units. The Volkswagen Golf, meanwhile, sold 5143.

Italy: Fiat Panda

Nationalism wins, once again – the Fiat Panda was the best-selling car in Italy last year, with 147,262 finding homes. The Lancia Ypsilon was second, with a comparatively piddly 65,647. It’s a 60/40 split between Fiat Chrysler group cars and other manufacturers in Italy, with the Renault Clio, Ford Fiesta, and Volkswagens Polo and Golf in the top ten, too.

Latvia: Nissan Qashqai

Another win for Nissan – the Qashqai claimed a small victory in Latvia last year, with 772 sold overall. The Skoda Octavia came in second, having sold 577 units.

Lithuania: Fiat 500

Fiat’s second pole position came in Lithuania, where the 500 sold in 2459, while the Nissan Qashqai was the second best-seller. 794 were sold in 2016.

Luxembourg: Volkswagen Golf

Luxembourg’s market mirrors Belgium’s, with the Volkswagen Golf taking first and the Renault Clio taking second. Each sold 1645 and 1240 units respectively.

Netherlands: Volkswagen Golf

Another victory for the Volkswagen Golf: 10,858 were sold to the Dutch in 2016, while the Renault Clio settled for second place once again, albeit narrowly; 10,741 found homes.

Norway: Volkswagen Golf

Surprise! The Volkswagen Golf was the best-selling car in Norway last year, with 12,259 sold. The Mitsubishi Outlander was in second place, but sold less than half of the Golf’s Norwegian total, at 5687.

Poland: Skoda Octavia

Skoda took another top two in Poland, with the Octavia and Fabia taking first and second place; the Fabia taking 16,960 and Fabia taking 15,070 sales in the country.

Portugal: Renault Clio

French superminis find more homes than anything else in Portugal, as the Renault Clio sold 11,494 as the country’s best-seller and the Peugeot 208 sold 6914.

Romania: Dacia Logan

Dacia took its home market by storm last year. The Logan and Duster made up the top two, with the former finding homes in 16,911 garages, and the latter parked in 5251. The Sandero takes fourth place, and Skoda Octavia slipped in at third in the Romanian market.

Serbia: Fiat 500L

Fiat’s only other victory is in Serbia, where the 500L was sold to 1709 punters. It's another example of a car dominating the market where it is made. Skoda’s Octavia sold 1219 units, taking second place.

Slovakia: Skoda Fabia

The Skoda Fabia takes its first pole position in Slovakia, while its bigger brother, the Octavia, wasn’t far behind. The Fabia was bought by 5373 Slovakians, and the Octavia was bought by 4952.

Slovenia: Renault Clio

The Renault Clio claims another first place in the Slovenian market, with 3854 sales ensuring its lead over the Volkswagen Golf, which sold 2594. The Clio is due to be built in Slovenia in facelifted form, which should help it maintain its lofty position there.

Spain: Seat Leon

What’s Spanish for ‘quelle surprise’? The Seat Leon and Ibiza took gold and silver in Spain, with 33,494 and 31,754 finding a place in the sun last year. Surprisingly, though, the rest of the top ten is a healthy mix. Introductions of the Ateca and Arona SUVs could make Seat’s footprint in Spain larger, though.

Sweden: Volkswagen Golf

There was uproar when the Volkswagen Golf took the lead in Sweden’s car market from Volvo, but three Volvos combined took second: the S80, V70 and XC70. The Golf sold 22,088 and the three Swedes took 17,270 between them.

Switzerland: Skoda Octavia

With no native carmakers of any large volume, the Swiss buy the Skoda Octavia and Volkswagen Golf more than any other cars. 11,648 bought an Octavia last year, and 10,525 bought a Golf.

UK: Ford Fiesta

The Fiesta is perched atop the lofty list of the UK’s top-sellers, with 120,525 shifted last year. 77,110 Vauxhall Corsas took second place. You can find the rest of the best-seller list here

Our Verdict

Ford Fiesta
Fiestas sold in Europe are ostensibly the same as those sold in America and Asia

The seventh-generation Ford Fiesta is the UK's best selling car, helped by frugal engines, handling verve and a big car feel

Join the debate

Comments
46

20 January 2017
Why anyone would choose to buy that overpriced, unreliable turgid piece of machinery the VW Golf is beyond me.

Indifferent handling, an interior which makes Leonard Cohen's greatest hits seem cheerful, average reliability, diesel engines which not only have cheat devices but also are as rough as a badgers behind all line up against it.

Give me the keys to a Focus or a Honda Civic any day, usually cheaper, better built, better to drive, more reliable etc etc

20 January 2017
odie_the_dog wrote:

Why anyone would choose to buy that overpriced, unreliable turgid piece of machinery the VW Golf is beyond me.

Indifferent handling, an interior which makes Leonard Cohen's greatest hits seem cheerful, average reliability, diesel engines which not only have cheat devices but also are as rough as a badgers behind all line up against it.

Give me the keys to a Focus or a Honda Civic any day, usually cheaper, better built, better to drive, more reliable etc etc

I'll take the bait...firstly, unreliable? Hmmm..had a Mk4 Golf, Mk5 and two Mk7's and not ONE problem with any of them. Don't tar every car with the same brush. (For the record I haven't had those cars back to back before you say I am an all out VW fan).

Indifferent handling - yep I would say a Focus handles better but as an all rounder it's a good balance and I am not the first and won't be the last to say this and the Mk7 is fairly decent - the Mk4 was woeful admittedly.

Interior...yeah OK, the interior on my current GTD must be awful according to you. The interior isn't why I bought it, but it sure is a nice place to sit without having the pretentious status that goes with say an A3 or 1 series. To add, a friend with a new Focus sat in mine and said how nice it was...

Rough diesel engines - really? Mine isn't rough and the same engine performs well on that front in other VAG cars too, eg Octavia, Leon etc.

And the last point, yep I would say the Focus is generally better to drive when comparing all versions and it is cheaper, yes you are absolutely right. Better built? That's down to opinion and perhaps personal experiences. The Civic? I like Honda, but gees, you're trying to tell me that ugly Civic is a better car?! Yeah right - that's why it outsells the Golf does it?

But by all means hang on to your obviously ongoing hatred of the car, for every single one of us who have bought one are wrong, and you, are completely right. Well done.

20 January 2017
odie_the_dog wrote:

Why anyone would choose to buy that overpriced, unreliable turgid piece of machinery the VW Golf is beyond me.

Indifferent handling, an interior which makes Leonard Cohen's greatest hits seem cheerful, average reliability, diesel engines which not only have cheat devices but also are as rough as a badgers behind all line up against it.

Give me the keys to a Focus or a Honda Civic any day, usually cheaper, better built, better to drive, more reliable etc etc

I'll take the bait...firstly, unreliable? Hmmm..had a Mk4 Golf, Mk5 and two Mk7's and not ONE problem with any of them. Don't tar every car with the same brush. (For the record I haven't had those cars back to back before you say I am an all out VW fan).

Indifferent handling - yep I would say a Focus handles better but as an all rounder it's a good balance and I am not the first and won't be the last to say this and the Mk7 is fairly decent - the Mk4 was woeful admittedly.

Interior...yeah OK, the interior on my current GTD must be awful according to you. The interior isn't why I bought it, but it sure is a nice place to sit without having the pretentious status that goes with say an A3 or 1 series. To add, a friend with a new Focus sat in mine and said how nice it was...

Rough diesel engines - really? Mine isn't rough and the same engine performs well on that front in other VAG cars too, eg Octavia, Leon etc.

And the last point, yep I would say the Focus is generally better to drive when comparing all versions and it is cheaper, yes you are absolutely right. Better built? That's down to opinion and perhaps personal experiences. The Civic? I like Honda, but gees, you're trying to tell me that ugly Civic is a better car?! Yeah right - that's why it outsells the Golf does it?

But by all means hang on to your obviously ongoing hatred of the car, for every single one of us who have bought one are wrong, and you, are completely right. Well done.

20 January 2017
AddyT wrote:
odie_the_dog wrote:

Why anyone would choose to buy that overpriced, unreliable turgid piece of machinery the VW Golf is beyond me.

Indifferent handling, an interior which makes Leonard Cohen's greatest hits seem cheerful, average reliability, diesel engines which not only have cheat devices but also are as rough as a badgers behind all line up against it.

Give me the keys to a Focus or a Honda Civic any day, usually cheaper, better built, better to drive, more reliable etc etc

I'll take the bait...firstly, unreliable? Hmmm..had a Mk4 Golf, Mk5 and two Mk7's and not ONE problem with any of them. Don't tar every car with the same brush. (For the record I haven't had those cars back to back before you say I am an all out VW fan).

Indifferent handling - yep I would say a Focus handles better but as an all rounder it's a good balance and I am not the first and won't be the last to say this and the Mk7 is fairly decent - the Mk4 was woeful admittedly.

Interior...yeah OK, the interior on my current GTD must be awful according to you. The interior isn't why I bought it, but it sure is a nice place to sit without having the pretentious status that goes with say an A3 or 1 series. To add, a friend with a new Focus sat in mine and said how nice it was...

Rough diesel engines - really? Mine isn't rough and the same engine performs well on that front in other VAG cars too, eg Octavia, Leon etc.

And the last point, yep I would say the Focus is generally better to drive when comparing all versions and it is cheaper, yes you are absolutely right. Better built? That's down to opinion and perhaps personal experiences. The Civic? I like Honda, but gees, you're trying to tell me that ugly Civic is a better car?! Yeah right - that's why it outsells the Golf does it?

But by all means hang on to your obviously ongoing hatred of the car, for every single one of us who have bought one are wrong, and you, are completely right. Well done.

Reliability surveys never put VW cars at the top end. odie_the_dog mentioned Honda Civic as a better alternative. It certainly is, as far as reliability is concerned, and in many other aspects, too. But Europe sticks to European made cars, maybe wisely, since they want to keep European employed.

21 January 2017
odie_the_dog wrote:

Why anyone would choose to buy that overpriced, unreliable turgid piece of machinery the VW Golf is beyond me.

Indifferent handling, an interior which makes Leonard Cohen's greatest hits seem cheerful, average reliability, diesel engines which not only have cheat devices but also are as rough as a badgers behind all line up against it.

Give me the keys to a Focus or a Honda Civic any day, usually cheaper, better built, better to drive, more reliable etc etc

Focus? As soon as you say you like that shitheap all merit to your views is lost.

I don't need to put my name here, it's on the left

 

22 January 2017
Or any of these cars you mention? Actually don't answer, as I really don't care.

I can't stand Nissan Jukes. Vile things. I've never driven one either. Probably an excellent car, but to me, all I want to do is punch the car right between it's horrible headlights and kick it up it's stunted posterior. I am sure owners all over the country are horrified when they turn up back at the local NCP and find me attempting to start a fight with their car. It just does that to me. Same with Nissan micras for some reason. Weird.

But we're all entitled to our own opinions no matter how unfounded/deluded/unreasonable they are.

Spanner

20 January 2017
What do you mean the Opel Astra and Corsa are the only non-Germans in the top ten? Opel is German.

20 January 2017
Opel is General Motors which is American.

20 January 2017
Opel is a German manufacturer. Its parent company, GM, is American.

That does not make Opel's domiciliary German.

20 January 2017
Opel is a German manufacturer. Its parent company, GM, is American.

That does not make Opel's domiciliary German.

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